posts tagged with 'summer'

open door policy

Our house is lovely, but one problem we do have is that not many of the downstairs windows open. Out of eight, we can conveniently open and close only three. That's not so helpful when you're trying to avoid air-conditioning by harvesting the cooler nighttime air; a good cross-breeze is impossible. On the other hand, we do have outside doors on three of the walls, so mornings and evenings having them open makes a world of difference. Only none of them have screens.

They used to, once, but dog and kids put paid to all three of them. Just as well most of the time, since we're constantly in and out in the summer, but it does mean that the bugs are in an out as well. But with an unusually dry June we haven't seen too many mosquitoes so far, and there are plenty of fruit flies inside already in the usual way, so with the doors open it might even be an equal exchange. We're not minding it too much.

Now when the hens try and come inside, that's another story. Luckily Lijah has taken on the job of chasing them out whenever that happens (he gets a little upset if someone else does it). With the chicks, there are already enough chickens living in our house!


another midsummer

The solstice is a grand thing, and we did it right this year, but it's hard to really celebrate properly when most everyone else is going about their everyday business. But no worries, because we have a big national celebration of summer to share just a couple weeks later. We tend to head over to Concord for their charming festival—it has lots to recommend it, not least the fact that it's in the middle of the day. This year the bigger boys and I biked there; good thing we have a bicycle that can carry plenty of supplies.

Zion in the back of the blue bike with lots of gear around him

all packed up

And, just as important, a seven-year-old who can confidently ride the five-and-a-half miles there and another back, with plenty of energy left over for enjoying the entertainment on offer.

Harvey riding down a country road

Harvey's independence

Like the bounce house, which the boys jumped right into as soon as we arrived. I worked on setting up our tent, which I brought along to liberate us from the narrow band of shade at the side of the field, where most folks listening to the bands have to squeeze together. We really appreciated it on a warm day with blazingly hot sun; we also appreciated our packed food, including peas and raspberries fresh from the garden.

picnic in the tent: Zion with our nice array of food

our picnic in the park

I was a little worried about the tent being in people's way, and made sure to set it up at the far back of the field, but it turns out concern wasn't necessary: about twenty minutes after we arrived a large group showed up and put up this considerable edifice right in front of us.

tents set up in front of us

rival encampment

But that was fine because there was plenty to do all over the place. We played in the spray from a fire hose.

the boys ducking the stream from a fire hose

spray park

And explored a ladder truck.

the boys in the crowded cab of a ladder truck

how many firefighters go in there?

The boys rode a "train" all around the field—all by themselves, without making me squish into one of those little seats to go with them (like lots of other parents had to do—or maybe they really enjoy it..).

Harvey and Zion waiting for the

they don't need me

I was impressed by that, but even more when they decided they wanted to go through the interactive theater / obstacle course experience by themselves. They learned what it was like to be an early immigrant to Massachusetts.

Harvey entering the

entering into the experience

The immigrants had all kinds of adventures, including having to carry swine out of the maize fields.

Zion carrying a pink pig ball

pig portage

And of course we listened to music!

boys lying on the ground in the shade, right up near the band

Southern Rail, as tradition dictates

Lijah napped and lunched at home, then he and Mama joined us in time for some of the fun—and all of the italian ice!

three boys, with mama, enjoying italian ice

note how they picked red, white, and blue

Then we went back home, where we totally meant to lie down in the dark house for the rest of the evening—but then our neighbors invited us over to play and eat pie, so we did that instead. They had red-white-and-blue glow bracelets to share too, which was perfect: we didn't get to see any fireworks this year, but staying up until after dark to throw the glow things around was a fine substitute, and a great end to a fine celebratory day.


a day in June

Summer is a busy time of year—there's enough chores and amusements to fill every waking hour. But every once and a while we manage to have a day to just kick back and relax.

Harvey eating an orange popsicle

summer treat

Well, relatively; today I still had to manage a lot of production around a couple church services—the bigger boys and I were on the church campus from 8:15 to 2:00, as usual—but today some of that production involved throwing a watermelon-and-popsicle social for the families. It went of great, the kids all had fun, and I loved seeing parents getting to know each other better. Everyone was so relaxed none of the parents objected when some of the kids started setting up an organized cage-fighting tournament under the climbing structure.

When we got home, Leah took Harvey out to do some swimming; after playing inside for a bit the other two boys and I spent about an hour spraying each other with the hose (and watering the plants a little bit too). Then some time on the hammock in the shade. Summer has its advantages.


a nice evening for a birthday

Harvey turned 7 today. He has a great birthday; the longest day of the year means plenty of time for fun and excitement. He spent the end of the day today playing outside with the neighbors and shooting video on the new tablet device he got as a present yesterday (thanks Grandma Beth!), and we capped the evening sitting in the front yard watching bats as we listened to the 9:00 taps echo over at the Air Force base.

As well as birthday celebrations—which'll continue all week—today also marks the end of the school year in town. That doesn't mean so much to us, but since I failed to ever update anyone on Harvey's progress throughout the year I thought I'd better put together a "year-end" report before it was too late. It's nice to have deadlines. I did it all online, so you can take a look if you're interested in what our homeschooling looked like this year, when packaged for public-school educators.

Tomorrow we're getting up early for strawberry picking, if all goes well... why can't we have long nights and long days in the summer?!


Lijah in the great outdoors

The moments I posted yesterday could have easily included many more delightful photos of Lijah enjoying the summer weather, because he sure did! Friday evening he had a nice time in and out of the wading pool and hanging with some fun people.

Lijah rocking a baby on the bouncy seat

comfortable with his friends

At Julen's house he got to join with the big(ger) boys in their squirt gun battle. Julen's dad is a good sport, not like Lijah's.

Lijah, Zion, and Julen squirt-gunning Samuel

not a fair fight

And of course, when we're spending all day outside we can't go in to cook dinners, so plenty of hot dogs for those who like that sort of thing. Though actually, Lijah is off hot dogs these days—maybe he ate enough last summer to last him a couple years—and onto buns. Sometimes they double as telecommunication devices.

Lijah holding a hot dog bun like it's a telephone

"anybody there?"

And then there are several photos that I'd love to caption, "Guess what? Chicken butt!". Except we've already reached our quota of naked pictures for this month. Stay tuned: June is just around the corner!


a day in the summer life

Lijah standing on a dock looking at the water

my morning companion

When I'm not working, I can do a lot in a day. As an example, here's a report on what we did yesterday.

I got up at 5:30 when I heard Lijah waking up. Leah was about to start exercising, so I took him outside to play so she could go ahead with that. We fed the chickens and chased them around for a while, then we decided to go for a bike ride. We headed down to the river again, where Lijah played in the water; he wanted to jump off the end of the dock, so I held his hands and dipped them in. We saw some ducks, which Lijah was excited about and correctly identified ("duh! duh!") and then some geese ("duh! duh!").

Lijah in the water pointing at geese

visiting with the wildlife

Strangely, it seemed to be getting darker rather than lighter; when we heard thunder I knew why! I quickly got Lijah dressed and we headed home. When we got back the other boys were up cuddling with Mama, so Lijah joined them while I made breakfast (bagel with cream cheese and scrambled eggs). As we ate the skies opened for a brief downpour, and I was glad to be safe at home.

After the rain stopped the boys and I went out to clean the car. It was a great way to let them play outside without getting soaked in the puddles, but also totally necessary: kids can really dirty up a car, and a minivan holds an impressive volume of trash! Eventually we got it cleared out and vacuumed, then packed up food (bb&j, blueberries, and cookies) and spare clothes and headed out to Acton to pick up more chicken food and visit the Discovery Museum.

As per the plan, Lijah fell asleep on the first leg of the trip and slept through the feed store part of the outing and our arrival at the museum. I had my book and was happy to wait with him in the car while Leah took the other boys in. When he woke up we made our slow way through the little forest path on the grounds, taking in the sights.

Lijah carrying a walking stick approaching a giant globe

world explorer

The museum was as fun as always. It was Lijah's first time there as a walker—maybe his first as a sentient being—and he enjoyed it fully (though there were a few tears when we came off the forest path and into the crowded museum lobby). We did all the stuff in the children's part of the museum (ages 0-6), then went back outside to have lunch and play on the nautical playground and with the bikes. Then home, sadly (for Zion at least) without visiting the Science Discovery building.

At home we declared a rest time and the boys played quietly while Leah put Lijah down for another nap and I wrote a blog post. Another storm blew through, with some impressive thunder and high winds but not much rain. It did lower the temperature a whole lot, so after the light rian stopped we went outside. Our friend Jim just gave us a compound bow (along with all sorts of other fun toys!) but we didn't have anything for it to fire, so with the boys watching and fetching supplies I set to work making an arrow. Even without anything weighting the tip it worked impressively well.

compound bow and homemade arrow, leaning against the fence

after some hard usage

The neighbor kids came over as I was finishing it up, and they stuck around and played for a while until the sky darkened once again; as the thunder got nearer and nearer we decided it might be better to go inside. Lijah was still sleeping so they went home. We were waiting for him to wake up so we could go to the farmers market, but as it hit 4:00 I realized we'd never be able to go and still make it home at dinner time, so I declared a big snack (corn, cucumber, cheese, and crackers). We ate out on the front porch until a particularly close lightning bolt frightened us inside—or at least, frightened me enough that I ordered the kids inside.

Lijah woke up around the same time the rain stopped, so with the bigger boys in raincoats and boots (but not me or Lijah—he doesn't have either, and I just wanted to get out the door!) we hopped in the car for our trip to the market. Usually we bike, but both Lijah and Zion have been wanting to walk more than they get to, so I figured we'd park a ways away from the market and make our own way there. With the stroller along, just in case. Which we did, though in the event I tried to keep Lijah in the stroller as much as possible, to keep him out of the puddles.

The market was mostly washed away—no more bacon, alas—but we got the vegetables we needed and enjoyed talking to the hardy farmers who stuck out the deluge. There were some big puddles on the market lawn; you can guess what happened right after I took this picture.

Harvey and Elijah walking through a giant puddle on the grass at the farmers market

puddle? or pond?

Even though he was wet halfway up his shirt—that was a big puddle—and I didn't have any dry clothes for him, I decided to honor the boys' strongly-felt desire to visit the Lexington library. I called Leah to let her know and said I'd told the kids 10 minutes, which in library time means like half hour or more. I think we were there closer to an hour, when all was said and done. We left with two more books.

When we got home the kids all needed some Mama time, and I got to work making mac-and-cheese to go with the chicken and roasted vegetables Leah had already prepared. Zion fell asleep before supper, which is fair: it was at least two hours past our usual supper hour. After the remaining four of us ate I played with Lijah while Leah read with Harvey and put him to bed, then Leah and Lijah went to bed. I did a little reading and writing before finally turning in at around 10:00.

The end.


more moments

Besides Lijah hanging out in the wheelbarrow, this week saw a few more moments worthy of note. Harvey's been very aware of his teeth.

Harvey grimacing to show his bloody tooth and new gap

you should see the other guy

He had two that were a little bit loose, and when he fell on a rock he knocked one out and loosened the other a whole lot more. He's praying every night that it doesn't fall out when he's asleep.

On Tuesday we celebrated cousin Nisia's birthday. The boys have a great time whenever they see her... about once a year. We took a picture of all the Archibalds together to commemorate this year's meeting, and demonstrate that we're all equally awkward in posed photographs.

ten Archibalds collected in front of our corn garden

family reunion

Camp continues apace.

camp friends sitting on the hammock weaving baskets

happy basket-makers

It's all great fun but a lot of work, and we're not at our best all the time. We're working on getting what rest we can, where ever we can find it.

I held the camera out facing me to show Zion lying in my lap

worn out boy

Yay for summer.


sunday summer evening

After a busy busy day, our house was the place to be this evening. For kids, at any rate. Not much before 5:00 they started playing in the sprinkler (or not playing, as it happened; but the sprinkler was involved in their game).

the boys and a friend playing under the trees by the fence, with the sprinkler going on the lawn

hiding from the sprinkler

Then we built a fire (and I need to brag: it was all with things we picked up from around the yard and just one match).

Harvey poking a stick into the fire in the kettle grill

what fire is for is poking

I denied the immediate request for marshmallows, but after further reflection I couldn't resist, and they toasted nicely in the coals.

Zion and a friend sitting in the chair by the smokey coals

after marshmallows

It was all lovely; the only problem is all that summer fun pushes bedtime pretty late. How do you think the boys will do tomorrow after not going down until 9:00? I guess we'll see!


this moment

swimsuited Zion and nudie Lijah lying on Mama in the grass

summer cuddle

A moment from the week.

summertime and the living is easy

For the last couple months, our neighbors have had to bear the cross of looking at our messy front lawn littered with two to three times more bikes than there are people in the house. Last night I finally, for the first time since the snow melted enough to let us get in the shed, put them all away (well, not including the plastic ones that don't live in the shed, but you know). As I considered this triumphant success, it occurred to me that there was a reason it finally happened on the evening of May 4th: it was finally warm enough that I enjoyed being out in the evening.

Usually, putting bikes away is close to the last chore of the day. And even on warm days this spring it's been pretty cold in the evenings, and the last thing I want to do after a hard day of... doing whatever it is I spend my time on, is mooch around in the cold shoving 14 bikes under the porch. So I didn't. I got to the more valuable or vulnerable ones most nights, but the broken tricycles and plastic scooters—all the ones that the kids like to use now and again, but that I don't care what happens to—they pretty much lived on the front lawn. Sorry neighbors. Now that summer is here it's a new regime of cleanliness out there.

Not that I'm all in favor of this sort of heat so early in the season (it must have been in the 80s for the second day in a row today). It's kind of a shock to the system, both for me and for the plants I'm trying to get in the garden. But on the other hand it sure is nice to be able to walk outside any time, from before sunrise to just before bed, without having to worry about adding clothes or catching your death. It makes those 5:24 am chicken chores just that much nicer! And having the windows open and fans running upstairs while we put the kids to bed: very pleasant.

Yes, summer in May. Swimming yesterday, ice cream store this evening... why do I still have to go to work again?